By Len A.Hynds

One warm summers night, during the early hours, on turning from a side street into the main Camberwell Road, I saw in the distance, a young woman gazing in at a shop window. What got my interest was that she constantly looked up and down the road. She could not see me as I was in a shop doorway. The shop had been broken into several times, and I wondered if she was a look-out for a colleague. It was not on my beat, but I tried to get close dodging from doorway to doorway, but eventually she spotted me and started walking away towards Camberwell Green. I increased my speed and so did she. I eventually got close enough to shout for her to wait for me, but she took off running fast, with me doing the same thing pursuing her.

I had glanced at the shop door on passing and could see fresh jemmy marks on the door, although a padlock was still in position. I got closer and saw her shoes fly off, and on passing them, saw that they were beach flip flops. She was now running barefoot, when I saw her reach up and throw a long wig from her hair. She was a man, and he was in a state of exhaustion when I captured him at Camberwell Green. He had a ladies dress on with stockings and presumably ladies underwear. He could give me no explanation as to why he had run, and I frog marched him all the way back to the shop to ask him if he was responsible for those jemmy marks, and he said, "I suppose so, but can you not mention that I was dressed as a woman."

I asked him what he had done with the jemmy, and he said, " I threw it away" I took him to the station where he was charged with attempted shop-breaking during the hours of darkness, and he just nodded his head in agreement. Our Sergeant was very good in taking him home in the van to get a change of clothes for the court in the morning.

The next day I went into the station prior to going to court, my prisoner already having been taken there, and whilst having a cup of tea in the canteen, a PC from another relief told me that those jemmy marks were not new but had been there for a few days!

This completely destroyed my evidence, so got to court early, and the gaoler let me see my prisoner in the cells below, and I asked him why he was admitting a crime that he really could not have done. He insisted that he had attempted shop breaking, but I asked him if he had been importuning, and that he was a homosexual. I knew by his reaction that I was right, and he was just too ashamed to admit it.

I went to see Mr Geoffrey Rose, the magistrate and told him of my fears that a miscarriage of justice was about to take place, and he said that it was a most strange case, but I would have to give the evidence. My prisoner pleaded guilty, so I only had to give the briefest facts, and Mr Rose gave him a conditional discharge for twelve months, as he had never before attempted this type of crime.

Talk about looking after your customers.

Woman being arrested